Monday, September 7, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - Season in Review by Rockie

My dad is former US Army; luckily he never served overseas. However, his experience with that has made him give me this advice many times: “Do not volunteer for anything.” I guess I didn't listen because I volunteered to do a Season 10 review of our favorite show for The Powers That Be (TPTB) here at Criminal Minds Round Table.

Yet, as I looked through the list of Season 10 episodes at IMDB, there weren't a whole lot of things that really stood out in my mind. For me, the season was typical of the past few years of Criminal Minds. There were a few really outstanding episodes; but not like back in the day of Seasons 3, 4 and 5. The rest ranged from sorta good, to OK, to what the...?

So how do I approach this season review? After many weeks of long debate with myself; that’s natural right? Don’t answer that. But this is what struck me for the past season and I came up with this idea...

Cue up majestic orchestra music…

V(oice) O(ver) Announcer (who sounds a lot like Karl Arnold): Live; from a small basement apartment in the Upper Midwest of the US, it’s the Season 10 Criminal Minds Rockies. Please welcome your host, Frank Breitkopf!

Frank: Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to our show. As you already figured out, there was no voting process in the nominations for our categories this evening; far less any voting on the actual winners. Since this is the Rockies, it is solely up to Rockie to provide the nominees and winners. And unlike me, that took my time with my victims, let’s get this show started.

To present our first Rockie, please welcome the lovely Megan Kane..

Megan: Thank you Frank. The nominees in Best Guest Star of the Season category are:

Ed Asner as Roy Brooks in “A Place at the Table; Episode 20
Bodhi Elfman as Peter Lewis in “Mr. Scratch”; Episode 21
Cornelius Jones Jr. as Desmond/Madam Bouvier in “Boxed In”; Episode 5

And the winner is: Cornelius Jones Jr.!

Please, please don’t already start the booing and hissing. This is my awards program; which means it’s my opinion. Agree or disagree is entirely up to you. Just don’t shoot the messenger.

Ed Asner, a solid TV actor from my younger years, got handed a great script from Bruce Zimmerman and gave his usual (IMHO Emmy deserving performance for a guest star role) of a broken man facing the loss of a beloved daughter and his own mind. Yet, Asner running with Bruce’s script, gave this Criminal Minds fan the flip side of that: a loving grandfather that enjoyed precious time with his grandson. You all know where my loyalties are with that subject.

Elfman also got a great script from Breen Frazier and delivered the goods as well. However, I had issues with Mr. Scratch (which I know puts me solidly in the minority around here; I’ll address that later) so he gets the “also ran” cup.

My winner is solely for his delivery of the best d*mn line that Virgil Williams (that penned two great S10 episodes and one of the biggest clinkers with Protection) ever wrote. “Mmm-mmMM... Gman!”. I darn near pee’d my pants. 'Nuff said.

And I have to say knowing it wasn't a huge favorite with a lot of you, Amber Stevens in the re-occurring role of Joy Struthers, Rossi’s daughter came a close fourth

Frank: Congratulation Cornelius and thank you Megan. To present our next category, please welcome Jason Gideon!

Gideon: I know a thing or two about portraying a Criminal Minds character. So it’s my honor to present the nominees for Best Characters Scene of the Season. They are:

Hotch and Jack with the Lord Vader costume in Episode 5: “Boxed In”
Morgan and Savannah at the door of their home in Episode 7: “Hashtag”
Reid and Callahan’s Elevator Scene in Episode 1: “X”

And the winner is: Hotch and Jack!

This is my homage to my fanfic mentor and absolute diehard Star Wars fan: she went through her living room ceiling at Hotch saying, “Jack, I’m your father.” I thought it was an absolute marvelous scene that showed a much different side of Hotch, the loving father that would put up with a cross dressing fortune teller to get the coveted Halloween costume his son wanted. That earns a Rockie.

Frank: Thank you Jason. At this time, please join me as we remember a favorite Criminal Minds character that left us.

Thank you Joe Mantegna. All of you know I loved the character Harrison Scott from the get go. And there is no doubt that what Joe Mantegna wants, Joe gets. God bless him. He gave Mesach Taylor the Criminal Minds send-off that Mesach richly deserved. I just wish the entire team, or at least Hotch was there for that. But like I said in my review of Anonymous I got the father/daughter theme.

*commercial break* Or in my world, a loo run

V.O. Announcer: Welcome back to the Season 10 Rockies. Once again, your host.

Frank: Thank you Karl. To present our next category, please welcome Andrew Wilder!

Wilder: While there hasn't been a whole lot of Criminal Minds episodes that measure up to my writing abilities of understanding the premise of this show; I’m honored to present the nominees for Best Writer of the Season. And while one episode is singled out, this category takes in the full body of their season work. They are:

Breen Frazier: Episode 21 “Mr. Scratch”
Erica Messer and Kirsten Vangness: Episode 16 “Nelson’s Sparrow”
Sharon Lee Watson: Episode 18 “A Thousand Suns”

And the winner is: Sharon Lee Watson!

V.O. Announcer: This is Sharon’s third consecutive win in this category.

Sharon came out of the writer gate with one of the best Season 10 episodes in A Thousand Suns. She followed that up with Amelia Porter that wasn't exactly her strongest but was another solid episode. Then she finished her third episode with Rock Creek Park. Simply put, Sharon gets this show. She understands the original premise: it’s about an elite FBI team of profilers, not Unsub-U that Virgil Williams forced down our throats with Protection. I've said it before and I’ll say it again; I just wish she would share her mojo juice or whatever she’s using with the rest of the writers' room. Because most of them do not get the original premise of this show and really need that kick in the butt.

Frank: Thank you Andrew; you are missed. Let us move forward to our next category. To present our next award, please welcome Adam Rain!

Rain: Thank you Frank. Having spent many years putting productions together for the theater, it is my honor to present the Rockie for Best Director of the Season. The nominees are:

Thomas Gibson for Episode 5: “Boxed In”
Matthew Gray Gubler for Episode 21: “Mr. Scratch”
Glenn Kershaw for Episode 16: “Nelson’s Sparrow”

And the winner is: Glenn Kershaw!

V.O. Announcer: This is Glenn’s fourth consecutive year earning a best directing Rockie.

I know two things around here: the only people that outnumber the Gibson/Hotch fans are the Gubler/Reid fans. So I've stepped on some toes. But I call them like I see them.

Thomas Gibson’s direction of Boxed In was his usual stint behind the camera: nothing flashy or spectacular; it just got the job done and done very well. Virgil gave him a helluva script and Thomas brought it to life without any bells or whistles.

Matthew's effort with Mr. Scratch? Yes, it was excellent. However, I’m of the opinion that the writers giving him the most macabre stories to direct is a total waste of Gubler's deity blessed directing abilities, which he has proved more than once: his directorial debut with Mosley Lane was fantastic. His behind the camera work with Lauren was simple eloquence. My wish for Season 11? Please give this talented director a “straight up” Criminal Minds episode without the macabre, off the wall crap.

Glenn Kershaw is the Criminal Minds director of choice for the “big ones” and I cannot thank TPTB enough for him doing that. He is the “go to guy” for directing and I can’t argue with that. In my review of Nelson’s Sparrow I pointed out all of his wonderful touches. And Glenn always does the season opener and closer: rightly so because he does not miss with his abilities. Never.

Frank: To present our final and biggest award tonight, please welcome Haley Hotchner and George Foyet!

Foyet: Thank you Frank. You look as lovely this evening as the last time I saw you Haley.
Haley: Why thank you George, but folks are waiting and we’re on time constraint with this show running long.
Foyet: Haley, I normally take my time like Frank. But I won’t argue with the director and producers. The nominees for the Rockie for the Best Episode of the Season are:
Frank: “A Thousand Suns” by writer Sharon Lee Watson and director Rob Bailey.
Haley: “Nelson’s Sparrow” by writers Erica Messer and Kirsten Vangness and director Glenn Kershaw.
Foyet: “Mr. Scratch” by writer Breen Frazier and director Matthew Gray Gubler.

Haley: And the winner is: “Nelson’s Sparrow”!

After a decent Season 10 opening episode with X, Janine Sherman Barrois gave this Criminal Minds fan an absolute dude for the second episode. Using hindsight, which we all know is 20/20, I feel Janine knew she had one foot already out the door. It showed in each of her three episodes she wrote. So I was one highly pouting Criminal Minds fan, wondering if this is how the entire season was going to go. Then Sharon Lee Watson comes along with A Thousand Suns and my Criminal Minds faith is restored. It was solid team episode; complete with Gubler/Reid doing a “green screen” scene describing how the plane broke up. Do I have to say more about my love for how good Sharon is?

Like I said at the top; this is my awards show. I know a lot of you have howled that Mr. Scratch should have been the season ending episode. I don’t agree and make no apologies. While it was an excellent episode, it really didn't start cooking until Act Three. And that act, without a doubt was powerful. But up until then, I thought the episode lacked a lot without much team and more emphasis on the unsub.

That cannot be said about Nelson’s Sparrow. From the first shot in the cabin of the team standing around the now deceased body of Jason Gideon until the very end, this episode was team, team and team with the much needed time-in with a very sick look at the unsub Donnie Mallick. In my world, this was a classic Criminal Minds episode that harkened back to S3-5; one that would make Andrew Wilder, Simon Mirren and Chris Mundy damn proud. Each Criminal Minds character/actor got their chance to shine. And then throw in Ben Savage’s dynamic portrayal (another Emmy guest star nominee worthy performance in my book) of the young Jason Gideon.

This episode was like an old MasterCard commercial: outstanding work by the guest stars; one gold star. Glenn Kershaw’s directing brilliance; two gold stars. Having the team and the actors that make them come to life prominent throughout the episode; three gold stars.

Getting not one, but two Hotch/Rossi scenes including the wonderful, total Hotch laugh: priceless....

Frank: The governing body of the Rockies stands by its decision. Thank you and good night.

~~~~rockhotch31 (Guest reviewer)

NOTE by Sir Elyan: every image can be seen full size clicking over it.


  1. Why were all the comments originally posted here taken down? I'm confused.

    1. Mary,

      No idea what happen, the comments are allowed, no comments have been deleted by us, even my comments are no longer there. I would guess this is a blogger problem. Will have to look into it.

      CMRT admin


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